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The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and is one of the most important annual religious activity for Muslims from all over the world. In 2018, more than 2 million Muslims from all over the world gathered at Mecca to participate in the Hajj.
Pilgrims swarm into Mecca results in sharply increasing of 911 calls
Over the course of the five-day Hajj, more than 2 million pilgrims attend multiple rites by gathering in the city of Mecca in an area less than 30 square kilometers. This results in an exponential increasing in various alarms and help-seeking calls (142,971 calls per day were received during peak periods in 2018). Handling of these calls and responding to the callers requires swiftness, high reliability and stability of the systems supporting calls and alarms handling and related response.
Collaborative dispatching for field forces from multiple agencies
During Hajj, the Saudi Arabian government has emergency coordination personnel from multiple government agencies, including the civil defense department, police (security) patrols department, highway police department, traffic department, ministry of health, and the Hajj emergency command office stationed in a single operations center. Effective coordination of multiple departments and police forces, quick command delivery, rapid and accurate dispatch of police forces, the prevention and elimination of various threats are major challenges for such operations.
Multiple numbers to call for help
People had to remember several alarm numbers to seek help when emergencies occurred. It was common for the people to call the wrong number or forget alarm numbers, causing inconvenience.
To overcome such challenges as above, MoI built a Unified Security Operations Center 911 in Mecca in 2015 that was designed to facilitate unified calls handling and colocation of multiple operational agencies. The MoI unified the original alarm numbers of the police patrols, civil defense, traffic police, and highway police departments under the same number, 911. Regardless of the type of incident, the public was able to dial 911 to seek help.
Equipped with a first-of-its-kind visualized converged command system built by Huawei and Hexagon, the Unified Security Operation Center implements unified alarm reporting and cross-agency united action, enhancing the efficiency of cross-agency collaboration and emergency response.
Unified incident reporting through the 911 system
Relying on the joint solution developed by Huawei and Hexagon, the 911 incident reception and handling system can handle various types of incidents in a unified manner, distributing them by incident type to the most appropriate departments. In this way, incidents can be quickly transferred between different departments through a unified platform, enabling joint office and information sharing among multiple departments and improving incident response efficiency.
Alarm call answering rate optimization
By deploying Huawei's Integrated Communication Platform (ICP), the system provides the leading technology to optimize the alarm call answering rate from both “forward direction” and “opposite direction”. “Forward direction” contains the technology to reduce the queuing time, speed up call answering and quickens the seats’ preparation; “Opposite direction” means ICP realizes the recording of dropping calls during queuing & ringing, and provides an ability for the operators to call them back.
Besides that, the joint solution provides personalized functions such as incident reporting through video or SMS messages for special needs like the needs of the hearing-impaired people. It also provides capability for incident handling services in multiple languages, including English, Arabic, Urdu, French and Indonesian, bringing great convenience to the pilgrims. During the Hajj 2018, approximately 360 call takers and 420 dispatchers served the 911 command center every day. On average, there were 65,615 911 calls daily, which was more than twice the incident numbers in normal times. Despite this, the ICP system ran stably and withstood heavy traffic bursts, without interruptions.
The experience in Makkah provides the ministry with a model for expansion of such 911 centers to all over the country. Huawei Technologies, the global leading ICT manufacturer, is honored to support the Ministry of Interior’s efforts to implement 911 services in Makkah, and support the Ministry of Interior to support the safety of 2016, 2017 & 2018 Hajj. Huawei’s safe city solutions improve the quality, accuracy and availability of critical communication system, increasing performance and productivity.